An indication that nobody is going to sit around twiddling their thumbs when a DTV issue comes up is the swiftness of the action to replace outgoing NTIA head Meredith Atwell Baker. An aide to VP Dick Cheney has been put forth to most notably ride herd on the government’s digital-to-analog converter box coupon program, making sure that the coupons get to those who need them and that retailers in the areas where people need them actually have them in stock.
He received quick endorsements from two of the Republicans on the FCC. Chairman Kevin Martin said, "Neil Patel has been a dedicated public servant whom I have known for the past seven years. I am pleased someone of Neil’s caliber is filling this position at NTIA at such a crucial time. Neil’s extensive experience with technology and telecommunications issues will immediately help advance NTIA’s goals and ultimately benefit consumers across multimedia platforms. I look forward to working with Neil on a broad range of issues, and especially as we prepare the country for the transition to digital." Added Robert McDowell, "I have had the pleasure of knowing Neil for many years. He is a substantive, energetic and committed public servant who is well-suited to lead NTIA. I wish Neil the best as he proceeds through the confirmation process."
RBR/TVBR observation: We suspect that in no time, he will become quite familiar with the members of the two Commerce Committees on Capitol Hill.